Trax

07/10/2014

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TOM FREUND, Two Moons  (Surf Road): 4 out of 5 stars

“Funny how when you leave LA you gotta drive into the desert/ Outta the frying pan and into the fire…” So opens the Venice-based troubadour’s latest smartly written album, which bares its love of California and ’70s folk-rock while sounding of the musical moment. Freund self-produced and recorded the 11 melodic tracks with a family of players with whom he has longstanding affiliations, which likely contributed to the warm, easygoing feel that makes songs like “Angel Eyes” and the mariachi-flavored “Same Old Shit Different Day” inviting. Release party at El Cid in Hollywood Thursday, July 17. tomfreund.com


THE BOMBAY ROYALE, The Island of Dr. Electrico (HopeStreet/Kudos): 4 out of 5 stars

Party time. This Aussie ensemble defies easy categorization, melding a love of all things Bollywood with ’60s-style surf, spaghetti Western and spy movie sounds as well as ’70s disco and funk. Saxophonist/bandleader Andy Williamson fronts a full horn section and Matty Vehl’s synthesizers further expand the band’s original sound, which evokes cinematic classics without being derivative. Highlights: “Ankhiyan,” the psychedelic funk of “(Give Me Back My) Bunty Bunty” and “Henna Henna” (check out the delirious video on YouTube). thebombayroyale.com


RYLEY WALKER, All Kinds of You (Tompkins Square): 4 out of 5 stars

John Fahey, Nick Drake and especially Bert Jansch all come to mind while listening to this 24-year-old Chicagoan spin harmonically rich folk melodies. Fret heads will appreciate how he tunes his guitar differently for “Twin Oaks, Pt. 2,” thus shifting the feel to taut, rainy-day contemplation from Part 1’s backroads barnburner. Viola and a rhythm section dress rumbling opener “The West Wind,” and elsewhere there are graceful piano passages, but it’s Walker’s evocative fingerpicking that fires these nine tracks. At the Echo in Echo Park Thursday, July 17. soundcloud.com/walker-ryley


DAVID OLNEY, When the Deal Goes Down (Deadbeet): 4 out of 5 stars

The weathered songwriter’s gravelly baritone and acidic humor are an acquired taste for some, but they serve his sometimes demented lyrics quite well. Case in point: “Roll This Stone,” where Sisyphus finds himself a Depression-era Midwestern farmer, befriended only by his mule. Elsewhere, Olney rotates from the title track’s bristling roots rock and the stripper-beat R&B of “Servant, Job” through gentle folk balladry to the jazzy guitar phrasings of “Why So Blue?” all the while questioning identity, war, life and God. davidolney.com


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